If we look for any additional benefits that might arise from adopting a point earned is a team point scored system that I covered in a previous blog, (on the right) it’s that schools would be compelled to wrestle where they belong.
No one knows better than I how objectionable what I’m about to say is going to be with many of you. I don’t like it either but I see where the sport is heading and it’s foolish to keep building carburetors when technology has the world running on fuel injectors.
Teams need to reconsider how they schedule opponents and especially where they wrestle at year’s end. It doesn’t help Lock Haven as an example, a D-II school, when they get blown off the mats by a Penn State, Virginia Tech or an Ohio State. Bald Eagle fans; please, we’ve been friends for decades now, no screaming. No one respects your program and coaches more than I do, from Hubert Jack to Simons to Cox to Poff and the list continues. It’s not that you’re doing anything different, it’s that the other teams you have been playing with for decades have grown up financially and now dwarf your efforts on every front.
As to those three big boy schools I just mentioned, I realize that two of the three aren’t on your schedule but I was trying to use some examples of what not to do, and give my readership a sense of perspective.
The challenge we face is although many of us don’t mind watching a blow-out, or we’ve become numb to it, it’s not in the sports best interest. But we attend these mismatches anyway with fingers crossed that the far better team might pass under a ladder or walk past a black cat on their way to the mat.
However it happens, the challenge we face is administrators aren’t as blind as wrestling coaches are when it comes to evaluating the programs they administer. They base everything by the amount of return on resources invested.
So if any D-II program touts their program as being Division I and pushes the administration to provide D-I levels of financial assistance, which compromises an already stressed athletic department budget, when the rest of the teams are being asked to subsist on D-II budgets, while the wrestling program is winless against Top 20 teams, well, departmental resentment ensues followed by the AD being forced to take a hard look at his commitment to wrestling.
As you can imagine, none of the run-on sentence above is good for the sport. Which begs the question, what’s easier for an AD; cut the budget back to the level at which a program’s preforming or eliminate the sport? If he chooses to keep it, the unhappy wrestling coach will squawk incessantly because his program has been severely wounded. However, if the AD terminates the sport, the parrot will only squawk for a month or so before finding another job. So which is easier to digest if you were in charge?
Now I realize coaches feel the need to get high end competition for their athletes but blow outs and lethargic post season outcomes aren’t good either.
So, can the two ever be balanced?
The simple and reasonable answer might not be very popular here; but it is what we’re facing. Wrestling programs need to compete where they belong. Sure, keep some of the tough duals because steel does sharpen steel but at the very least at season’s end programs should wrestle in the same division as their institution. In the example of Lock Haven, along with maybe 15 other programs I can think of, they should be part of the D-II nationals.
Whoa now folks, wait until I put my noise canceling ear buds in before you start in on me.
I use to feel as many of you do about this topic because I remember the good old days as well when David could, and did, slay Goliath; and a great many of the smaller programs walked away with more than their share of D-I hardware. And yes, they still do it often enough, all be it considerably less, to be able to point out how off-base I am here. But, and this is a huge but . . . at what expense when these coaches are wrong and I’m not?
Sure, LHU had Cary Kolat 20 years ago and no question he’s one of America’s legends and a great source of price for those who follow the Bald Eagle program. But in order to provide Cary with a vehicle to achieve at the highest levels, how many athletes have graduated from Lock Haven during that time or since then who could have and would have been a Division II National Champion or All-American; but never had the chance to be that because they were participating at the far more competitive D-I level?
I guess the eventual question has to be; what’s fair and reasonable? Then we have to compare that with what’s right? Should the potential achievement of 1 varsity athlete overshadow the potential achievements of the other 9? Is one 5th Place finisher at the D-I’s worth not having a 5th place team finish, an NCAA Runner-up, one 4th place and two 7th place athletes in D-II? This is what happens when coaches either refuse to compare resources or they do and prefer to be selfish rather than prudent.
We need to get a grip. I get it that everything we do in our sport is measured by the D-I microscope. But given that the country has a population of 325 million and out of that, maybe 1% knows anything about wrestling, it makes a strong point about how unimportant our opinions really are.
So as a result, when a person indicates he was All-American in college the respect he receives is always universal. No one asks, “In what division”, they just say, “wow”. So maybe we should consider dropping our own divisional prejudices and simply respect every All-American for achieving at the highest levels. We’re our own worst enemy in this regard.
I guess as long as everyone knows what’s going on and the ramifications of wrestling at the D-I level when the school is D-II . . . it’s still not right. How can anyone be okay with taking away a majority of the team’s chances to graduate as an All-American so the squad’s best athlete might be able to say he was a D-I All-American?
Then we have the issue of putting thousands of wrestler’s ability to wrestle in college at risk because of dropped programs for the sole purpose of coaches being able to sit in the corner during Thursday’s rounds at the D-I’s. If you didn’t notice, I was trying to be nice here and not mention that most D-II wrestlers don’t make it to Friday’s rounds.
I believe most of you know that I wrestled at Clarion under one of the greatest coaches the sport has ever had, and I’d do it again but that was then, a time when our budget was the same size as many of the Top 20 teams. But that equality no longer exists with the possible exception of Edinboro, and that’s only due to their Athletic Director being a World and Olympic Champion in wrestling. Today, the worst team in the Big 10 which was 2-16 last year and 0-9 in the conference has a budget that is 3 times greater than the size of Clarion’s and why I’m writing this segment.
Personally I still prefer to remember the days when Penn State refused to schedule the Golden Eagles, and for good reason. But that was then . . . today the landscape is totally different.
I wish I was wrong about all this and sure, there will always be examples that will fill my inbox with “see, you were wrong” emails but in the larger picture, we must think of how to protect the sport and all its athletes even when it’s not popular.
As to how A Point Earned is a Team Point Scored will help, it should be obvious given the rule’s name. You score a bout point; it becomes a team point, just like any other sports you can name. So, instead of the Bald Eagles losing to Virginia Tech this past season by 29 points, they would have lost by 53 points. This is a far more effective way of pointing out to coaches who should stay on the porch and who should be running with the big dogs.